Bridging a fragmented world order
India’s ability to skilfully tackle the challenges at the G20 in this fragmented world order can provide templates and a roadmap for Brazil’s presidency
As the G20 summit in New Delhi comes to a close, India has been able to achieve a full consensus on the leaders’ declaration successfully. While reaching a consensus on the deceleration among all member states is an achievement in itself, the Sherpas and India’s G20 team were able to propose and impress upon all other members to agree to the key takeaways from the summit.
Firstly, the declaration does not mention Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, it does refer to the Bali declaration where Russia was explicitly condemned for its aggression. It also refers to the stated positions of the respective nations and that of resolutions adopted at the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly. The declaration thus appears to have taken a milder approach in naming and shaming Russia. The fact that Western nations agreed to not mention Russia in the deceleration is something that was unexpected and was considered to be the main point of contention for India in getting an overall consensus. India’s G20 team worked meticulously on carving the statement and its endless backdoor negotiations with member nations so as to cater to its own interests while giving the G20 members a common ground to arrive at carefully drafted wordings on the Ukraine conflict that was acceptable to all.
Secondly, the inclusion of the African Union as a permanent member of the G20 will significantly contribute to addressing the global challenges of our time. Africa plays an important role in the global economy. This is a reflection that G20 (perhaps now G21) is committed to strengthening its ties with and supporting Africa and countries of the global south to realise their aspirations under Agenda 2063. The accession of the African Union into the forum will be the watershed moment for India’s Presidency of the G20 as its perseverance and efforts to include the African Union reflect on its efforts to be a genuine voice of the Global South was realized.
The third key agenda was around elaborate and urgent steps that need to be taken on the climate crisis and working on targets to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The declaration elaborates on the need to urgently accelerate its actions to address development and climate challenges, promote Lifestyles for Sustainable Development (LiFE), and conserve biodiversity, forests, and oceans. G20 also reiterated the importance of sustainable biofuels and renewable energy towards achieving zero and low-emission development strategies and noted the setting up of a Global Biofuels Alliance.
The declaration also emphasized the issue related to global debt, especially for low-income countries and the need to pursue reforms for better, bigger, and more effective Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) to address global challenges to maximise developmental impact. On the need for reforming international financial institutions, the declaration also reiterated the need for an international development finance system that is fit for purpose, including for the scale of need and depth of the shocks facing developing countries, in particular the poorest and most vulnerable. The international finance system must deliver significantly more financing to help developing countries to fight poverty, tackle global challenges and maximise development impact. The other significant takeaways were about focusing on the potential of digital tools and technologies and digital public infrastructure in fostering safe and resilient digital ecosystems. It also highlighted the need for gender equality and the need for enhancing economic and social empowerment.
India invested substantial time, energy, and financial resources in hosting the G20. The team worked painstakingly to come up with concrete and clear declarations for the leaders’ summit. It also provided the government and PM Modi a platform to showcase a new resurgent India which is willing to take centre stage in global affairs and play a constructive and pivotal role in setting the global agenda.
As the 18th G20 summit successfully concludes in New Delhi, the baton of responsibilities will now be passed on to Brazil which will hold the G20 Presidency for 2024. India’s ability to skilfully discuss and tackle the challenges at the G20 in this fragmented world order can provide templates and a roadmap for Brazil’s presidency. It will have to build upon the achievements at the New Delhi summit with hundreds of elaborate events and meetings held under India’s presidency. G20 in 2024 will again be a testing time for Brazil and will have to focus on deliverables for the upcoming year.
Dr Mohit Anand is Prof of International Business and Strategy at EMLYON Business School, France. Rajesh Mehta is a leading consultant and columnist working on market entry, innovation and public policy. The views expressed are personal.